More than 250 hoteliers from across the country were in Washington, D.C., Feb. 29 and March 1 to learn the pressing legislative issues facing the lodging industry and take their message to Capitol Hill. Day one of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2012 Legislative Action Summit (LAS) featured panels on the year’s legislative outlook, travel and tourism promotion, labor issues, the online hotel booking tax issue, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s pool lift requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Day two saw hoteliers heading to the Hill to speak with their members of Congress.
Industry representatives asked Congress to streamline the country’s visa application process and expand the Visa Waiver Program. They also re-emphasized their belief that Congress should not pre-empt state and local taxing authorities to give online travel agencies (OTAs) a special tax loophole, and that OTAs should remit taxes on the retail prices they charge their customers.
Most members of Congress were particularly interested in attendees’ concerns with ADA pool lift requirements. As a direct result of work by the AH&LA, dedicated hoteliers that repeatedly contacted members of Congress seeking redress, and the industry’s collective strength displayed during LAS, the White House issued a 60-day extension on March 15 that pushed the compliance date for the pool lift requirement under the ADA to May 15.